You are on page 1of 3

ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF MANILA, On October 17, 1009 the trial court issued an Order denying petitioner's

vs. (defendant below) motion to dismiss insofar as the first cause of action is
COURT OF APPEALS, SPS. ERNESTO REYES and LORNA REYES, concerned but granted it for the second cause of action. 2 In effect, the case was
allowed to proceed with respect to the first cause of action, the request for
G.R. No. 111324 July 5, 1996 correction in the encroachment problem, but not with the second cause of action
to compel petitioner to sell the property to the spouses Reyes. The Order reads
ROMERO, J.:p in part:

Facts: The case at bar springs from a lease agreement executed by petitioner- The following day, the trial court acted on petitioner's Motion for Judgment on the
lessor, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, and private respondent- Pleadings Relative to the Counterclaim for Rental. The lower court held that
lessees, spouses Ernesto and Lorna Reyes on August 1985 over a parcel of land private respondent spouses were indeed obligated to pay rent after having
located in Intramuros, Manila. The lease contract provided for a ten-year lease, admitted that they deliberately defaulted in payments. The trial court found that
renewable for another ten years at the option of the lessor. Private respondent since there is "no issue as to the non-payment of the rentals as admitted by the
lessees were also given the right of pre-emption, with first priority to purchase the plaintiffs themselves, at least on the occupied area of 30.96 (sic), 6 from October
property if the owner, herein petitioner, offered it for sale. 1986 up to the present time, partial judgment on the pleadings is indeed
warranted." 7 Rent was computed on a per-square-meter basis as provided for in
the lease contract's schedule of rents.
Intending to have a fire wall constructed, private respondents allegedly had the
property relocated. As a result, they discovered that the adjacent owner's
concrete fence abutted on and encroached upon 30.96 square meters of the Private respondent spouses filed a notice of appeal and elevated the case to the
leased property. Private respondents requested petitioner to make adjustments in Court of Appeals. 8 They raised three issued: the lawfulness of dismissing the
order to correct the encroachment problem. Consequently, they decided to second cause of action (to compel the sale of the lot); the propriety of holding
withhold rental payments as "leverage" against petitioner and to force the latter to that there was no contract of sale between the parties; and ordering the payment
make corrections or adjustments in the area of subject land. of rental arrearages from October 1986 without any hearing on the merits. 9

On March 1987, petitioner informed private respondents in a letter of its intention Petitioner moved to dismiss the appeal on the ground that the case raises only
to sell the leased property. Although the Reyeses conveyed their interest in pure questions of law and the respondent appellate court had no jurisdiction over
buying the property, no deal was finalized. In 1989, petitioner offered to sell the the same. Respondent court ruled that private respondent spouses, appellants
parcel of land on terms, at P2,127.45 per square meter. Private respondents below, raised factual issues on the offer and acceptance regarding the sale of the
argued that the same lot should be sold to them at P1,600.00 per square meter, lot in question and on the trial court's order to pay back rentals. "These factual
the prevailing price when the lot was first offered for sale in 1987. issues revolt against the appellee's conclusion that the issues on appeal are
purely question of law." Respondent court likewise stated that the case before it
is a single appeal and does not necessitate multiple appeals even if it involves an
No agreement was reached. Private respondent spouses filed an action for
October 17, 1990 Order and Partial Judgment rendered on October 18, 1990.
specific performance and damages before the Regional Trial Court of
Hence, even if only a notice of appeal was filed without a record on appeal, the
Manila. 1 The correction of adjustment of the encroached portion of the property
appeal was effectively perfected.
constituted their first cause of action. For their second cause of action, the
spouses Reyes prayed that petitioner be compelled to sell the leased premises to
them at P1,600.00 per square meter, claiming that there was already a contract In its decision promulgated on 1993, respondent appellate court affirmed the trial
of sale between the parties. court's October 17, 1990 Order but reversed and set aside the October 18, 1990
Partial Judgment. 11 The case was ordered remanded to the lower court for
further proceedings on the merits to determine the exact amount of unpaid
Petitioner's Motion to Dismiss was not immediately resolved by the trial court. It
rentals. Petitioner thus filed this petition for review.
later filed its Answer with Counterclaim for rental payment owed by private
respondents. Petitioner also filed a motion for judgment on the pleading of unpaid
rentals on 439.34 square meters of the 470 square meter leased property. Issues:
1. Whether or not this case involves multiple appeals which, therefore, admittedly correct and undisputed by the parties, and the only issue raised is the
necessitates the filing of record on appeal for the perfection of the correct application of the law and jurisprudence on the matter." 21 Having raised
appeal. only pure questions of law, private respondents, it is alleged, should have
elevated their appeal to this Court and not to the Court of Appeals.
2. Whether or not the issues raised on appeal to respondent court are pure
questions of law over which the Supreme Court has exclusive Petitioner is correct in saying that decisions of the Regional Trial Court may be
jurisdiction. directly reviewed by the Supreme Court on petition for review only if pure
question of law are raised.
The provisions of law states the general rule that appeals from the Regional Trial
1. No. Courts shall be brought before the Court of Appeals unless it is properly to be
elevated to the Supreme Court in accordance with (a) constitutional provisions,
The case at bar is not one where multiple appeals can be taken or are (b) B.P. Blg. 129 and (c) the provisions of the Judiciary Act of 1948. These being
necessary. Multiple appeals are allowed in special proceedings, 15 in actions for in the nature of exceptions, the Court deems it proper to summarize them below.
recovery of property with accounting, 16 in actions for partition of property with
accounting, 17 in the special civil actions of eminent domain 18 and foreclosure of From the foregoing provisions, the following principles may be formulated:
mortgage. 19 The rationale behind allowing more than one appeal in the same decisions of the Regional Trial Court may be elevated directly to the Supreme
case is to enable the rest of the case to proceed in the event that a separate and Court on certiorari in criminal cases where the penalty imposed in death or life
distinct issue is resolved by the court and held to be final. imprisonment, including cases arising out of the same occurrence 28 and in all
other case in which only errors or questions of law are involved. 29 When the
The disputes in the case below for specific performance have arisen from the Constitution states that cases involving questions of fact or mixed questions of
demand to make adjustments on the property where the adjacent owner is fact and law should be appealed to the Court of Appeals, it merely restates in
alleged to have usurped a part thereof, the exercise of the right of pre-emption another way the principle that if only questions of law are raised, these cases
and the payment of rental arrearages. A ruling on the issue of encroachment will should be elevated to the Supreme Court.
perforce be determinative of the issue of unpaid rentals. These two points do not
arise from two or more causes of action, but from the same cause of action. From the foregoing, it is clear that the Court of Appeals does not exercise
Hence, this suit does not require multiple appeals. There is no ground for the jurisdiction over appeals from the Regional Trial Court which raise purely
splitting of appeals in this case, even if it involves an Order granting (and questions of law. Appeals of this nature should be elevated to this Court.
denying) a motion to dismiss and a Partial Judgment granting a motion for Notwithstanding the confirmation of this legal rule, still, the instant petition cannot
judgment on the pleadings. The subject matter covered in the Order in the Partial be granted because the appeal brought before the Court of Appeals by private
Judgment pertain to the same lessor-lessee relationship, lease contract and respondent spouses does not involve questions or errors of law alone, there
parcel of land. Splitting appeals in the instant case would, in effect, be violative of being factual issues to be resolved.
the rule against multiplicity of appeals.
Petitioner has correctly defined what is a "question of law," thus: there is a
The conclusion is irresistible that since a case has not been made out for multiple question of law when the issue does not call for an examination of the probative
appeals, a record on appeal is unnecessary to perfect the appeal. value of evidence presented, the truth or falsehood of facts being admitted and
the doubt concerns the correct application of law and jurisprudence on the
2. No. matter. 31 The question that begs answer is whether the issues raised by the
private respondent spouses are solely questions of law which would, therefore,
appertain to the exclusive jurisdiction of this Court.
It further claims that since the Order and the Partial Judgment rendered by the
trial court were based exclusively on the admissions and averments contained in
the parties' pleadings, an appeal therefrom involves only pure questions of law. Upon a careful analysis of the issues raised by private respondent in its appeal to
Citing the Court's pronouncement in People v. Enguero, 20 petitioner maintains respondent court, the Court finds that they are not purely questions of law.
that involved herein is a purely legal question "where the statement of facts is Specifically, when private respondent questioned the conclusion of the trial court
that there was no meeting of the minds between lessor and lessee regarding the
sale of the leased property, private respondent raised a factual issue. Similarly, The appeal elevated by private respondents, therefore, was properly cognizable
the issue of whether or not there was a perfected contract of sale necessitates an by respondent court. There being no reversible error in the decision under
inquiry into the facts and evidence on record. Likewise, the question regarding review, the instant petition is denied for lack of merit.
the property of granting judgment on the pleadings on the matter of rental arrears
demands a scrutiny of the facts of the case. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED. The decision and
resolution of respondent Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED.